Friday Writing Update

So last Friday, I completely forgot to do a blog post. For most of the day, I was under the assumption that it was Thursday, so it didn’t cross my mind until later on in the day that I was meant to do a post. Anyway, today I’m just going to give a brief update on what I’ve been up to.

For the past week, I’ve been working on a new story. This one came about off the back of a VSS365 writing prompt post. I don’t want to give too much away, but the post can be seen below, and it might give a clue as to what type of story it is.

I’ve been trying to do the VSS prompt tweets daily again. I started to do them a while ago and then kind of fell out with them as I struggled to come up with anything to write. Recently, however, I’ve not had that issue, and I’ve been able to write a few sentences reasonably easy. I think doing these is partially why I’ve been able to get back into writing again. They’re helping me get my brain in the right place for being creative, plus I enjoy doing them. Most of my posts seem to follow a theme of horror or paranormal, which is fine, but I’ve also been able to relate some of them back to either released novels or ones I have in the pipeline, which also serves to give me more ideas of where I can go with them.

So far, my latest WIP is around 9000 words and counting, so it’s coming along pretty well. As usual, I’ve not done any real planning; I’m just typing and seeing where I end up. I’ve done some bits and pieces of research – i.e. Googling – to help me along my way, but most of it just flows from my brain.

As much as I want to work on some of my other WIPs, like The Next Stage 2, I just don’t know where I’m going with them. I don’t want to write for the sake of it and not do the story justice, so at this point, working on something new is the best thing for me to do.

Anywho, I’m going to get back to it now and see where the story takes me.

Have a good weekend.

Ghost Writer

This past week I completed my first draft of Blindsighted, what I hope will be my next book to release. It currently stands at around 60K words. I already have ideas of what things that I want to add or alter within the main story, but I’m taking some time away from this story for a bit as it’s all I’ve worked on for a month or so.

While on this break I’m going to be working on the tentatively titled Dreams – which ironically is one of the few ideas that didn’t come to me in a dream. I started this a few months ago and didn’t get past the first chapter. When I went back to it last week, I rewrote what I had, not to alter its content, but just to make it read a little better as the initial bit that I wrote was simply just to get the idea down so I wouldn’t forget it.

Although I’m working on Dreams, last night, Alex and I started to go through the “ghost” videos that I posted on YouTube some years back.

To give a little background to this; I lived in a flat in Manchester on my own for a number of years, soon after I moved in, I started to experience some odd things. The experiences I had, ranged from doors opening and closing on their own, shadows in the shape of a person in several rooms, pots rattling near the sink, banging and other noises as well as a whole bunch of “feeling weird.” These odd occurrences prompted me to record what was happening; I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just in my head.

I spent a long time filming what was happening and spent even longer going through it, discounting what I thought to be explainable. What I uploaded to YouTube were the things that I couldn’t explain. Some of the extra things I found when going through the videos included, the sound of invisible footsteps, voices and other noises, shapes moving across the screen, and even at one point, the camera itself being moved.

We’re going through these videos a little closer than I did at the time and trying to see what other things I caught, and so far the list is long and growing further. Once we’ve done this, I hope I can then put it all together in the form of a book as an account of what I experienced in the flat. It will hopefully include the experiences of friends that stayed there alongside my own.

This book is something that we’ve been talking about for some time now, and I think It’ll be something that will take quite a bit of time to put together into a readable state of the true account of what happened. It’ll probably be something that I dip in and out of, and I may end up – as I did with The Next Stage – having a corkboard with everything planned out on it.

The book will be my first non-fiction book, so It’ll be an entirely new experience writing down something that actually happened.

I know that some people will read this and immediately disbelieve everything and say it’s all nonsense, which is fair enough, people have a right to believe what they want. All I can say is that these things happened to me and others that visited the flat. I’ve done my best to explain some things away, but some things are just unexplainable; at least to me. Maybe if you watch the videos you’ll be able to explain them, perhaps not, it’s all open for interpretation. But if I can put everything together in a book that lays everything out, people can come to their own conclusions – even Alex didn’t believe me when she moved in…she does now.

If you want to watch the videos for yourself, look up GaxsGhost on YouTube or click here.

Writing: To First Drafts and Beyond

A first draft. What is it? Well, it’s a draft…that came first. For every writer, it could mean something different. I’m coming to the end of my first draft of my ghost story, so I wanted to address what it means to me.

I asked my fellow writers on Twitter what the first draft for them consists of, and the answers varied;

For me, a first draft is similar to the latter response.

I write the basics of a story. Whatever comes into my head, goes down and I try to make it make at least a little bit of sense. There is dialogue in there, I try to get most of the location data down, and there is some description there – mainly so I don’t forget what I was thinking at the time. It’s the bare bones of a story, but it’s way off being finished. These, for me, have ended up being around 40-50K words

Once I feel like I’ve finished the story, it’s time to go back over it. That’s when the V2 file is created.

This second draft is used to figure out if everything is in an order that makes sense. For The Next Stage, this meant adding some extra chapters in between others. In this case, I added more detail and events revolving around one of the characters – the President. This allowed me to add other events later on in the book and added – I feel – to the book’s depth as a whole. This draft is also used to add extra dialogue and build on the description already in there. Making the world a bit more rounded and believable.

Once the second draft is done, it’s time for another read through. This V3 draft is used to correct any spelling or punctuation that has been missed or entered correctly. It also serves for me to make the story read a little better. In the first couple of drafts, the story might not read and flow as I would have liked, and if that were sent out to readers, they might find it disjointed and difficult to read. I may end up reordering paragraphs or even chapters to improve the story’s flow during this stage.

V4 – now we’re getting into almost finished territory. This draft consists of reading through once again and double-checking everything I’ve done in the last few drafts. For The Next Stage, this was also the stage in which I ensured that the story’s timing was how I wanted it. Because I had dates and times on each chapter, I needed to make sure that they were set in the right period and any mention of date/time was correct as per the chapter heading.

After doing all these checks, I was finally ready to let someone else read it, *Enter Alex*

Once she had read through, enjoyed the story, and pointed out any issues that she noticed, I was ready for another draft, but this one was slightly different.

The next version I created wasn’t done in Word. This draft was done by uploading to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and creating the book as a paperback, as I would like it when it’s finished, and ordering a proof copy. I found this stage immensely satisfying as I could hold the book in my hand, and the whole thing felt a bit more real.

Armed with post-it notes and highlighters, I went at the proof copy. I read through and marked it up as I went. I was surprised at the amount of stuff that I marked up in it, despite having been through it 4 times before. There was something about having it physically in my hand that allowed me to find errors easier – I’ll definitely be doing this again with my next book, and I recommend it as a way to edit if you can.

After doing this read-through, I decided that I had found all I could and was ready for publishing.

Self-publishing means that, for the most part, I rely on my judgment as to whether a book is ready to publish. It’s so easy to sit and repeatedly go through it until my eyes bleed. But at some point, you’ve just got to say “f!ck it, it’s done.”

This method is just what works for me. As I said at the top, different writers have different approaches. You’ve just got to find what way works for you. You can look to others for advice and what they do, but ultimately it’s your decision to find what’s best for you.

Thanks to everyone for their input into this post.

An Author’s Holiday

As I’ve previously said, in May of this year I quit my job in IT, because I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore and it was affecting my mental health…blah, blah, blah, but this blog isn’t about that, it’s about holidays.

Now that I don’t have a “real” job and I’m writing full time, you’d think I could pretty much do what I want to, write? (Haha, see what I did there? Urgh) I’ve been trying to give my days a bit more structure because, 1) It helps my mental health and 2) it means I’m more likely actually to get something done. But, just like in a 9-5 job, I need time off. This year more than ever, time off is essential, to not only look after my mental health but also recover some from physical injury.

One plus for not working a 9-5 is that if I decide to take some time off, I only need to clear with my own brain. There’s none of this, trying to find out what other people have booked off, and trying to get it approved by some manager who you never see. The only obstacle I face is actually making myself take the time, and not deciding I will just write this little bit – and then realising it’s 4 hours later.

All I’m trying to say with this blog is that I’ve decided to take a few days off over Christmas and the new year.

Although I’m taking this time off writing, I’m putting together some blog posts and scheduling them, and I’ll probably still be around on Twitter.

As it’s Monday here’s a bit of a writing update.

I’ve shelved It’s All in the Eyes for the time being. I got a bit stuck with where I was going with it, and rather than muddling through and messing it up; I decided a break from it might help.

I’ve done some more work on the tentatively titled The Man (which may also be called Blindsighted, I haven’t decided yet.) I’ve still got a good idea where it’s going, and I’m almost at the end of creating the basic story, so I may pick this back up in the new year again to try to get the first draft finished.

This last week, however, I’ve been working on The Next Stage 2 – no that’s not going to be the final title…I just don’t know what it will be yet. I’ve got around 6000 words written, so it’s coming along. I’ve managed to put a few of my favourite ideas together, leaving some by the wayside for another time. I’m really hoping people will like it as much as the first one, but I guess time will tell.

The Next Stage; 100! (Bonus Entry)

It’s been a little under two months since The Next Stage released in Kindle and paperback form. Today it an amazing milestone.

It now has over 100 ratings on Goodreads, and every single damn one of them is ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It has now overtaken Creatures with number of reviews and rating average.

This, to me, is a huge thing to happen and something that I never even thought would happen. When it 50 reviews and they were all ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I thought that was amazing, but hitting 100 is phenomenal.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I had started work on the second book in the series. I’ve done an outline, and I’ve already started writing -so far I’m up to just over 4000 words, so it’s slowly getting up steam. I think I’ve for a pretty solid story so I’m hoping it’ll follow in the footsteps of the first one and be something that readers enjoy.

Below are all the places you can pick up a copy for yourself along with the Goodreads page.

Amazon

Google Books

Apple Books

Lulu

Kobo

Goodreads

Thank you to all who have bought it so far, especially those that have reviewed it. I hope many more people will enjoy it.

Monday Writing Update

Hello and welcome to another joyous 2020 day.

Well, that’s enough of that, let’s get on trudging through the day until the next crappy thing happens.

Today is the start of my “proper” blog schedule which should look like this;

Monday: Writing update, where I’m up to with projects, how I write, and what I think about writing etc

Wednesday: Gaming, I’ll be doing reviews or retrospectives on gaming throughout my life.

Friday: Mental Health, these will be posts about how I live with bipolar, thoughts on how to deal with different situations, and general chat about it to get things out there.

So, today is Monday, and despite doing a writing update on Friday, I’m going to do another one today.

On my current WIP, I’m around 50,000 words in, it’s going pretty well so. I’ve got most of the story down, and I’m just coming up to wrapping up the main storyline. It still needs some fleshing out, but I’d say it’s about 75% there.

Over the weekend, however, I had some thoughts on what I’d like to do for The Next Stage 2 – not an actual title – so I’m in two minds as to what to work on today. With the way that people have reacted to the first TNS – 84 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews and counting, I really want to get going on a sequel, but I also don’t want to do it just for the sake of it and screw it up, so we’ll see what I can work out with it and go from there.

While I’m talking about TNS and the reviews it’s gotten, part of me still can’t believe that all it’s got are the ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews and 84 at that. It means a lot to me that people are genuinely enjoying it and a lot of readers are saying they look forward to a sequel. There is also an element of pressure that I feel now, the want to do another book in the series but to also make either better, or at least, as good as the first entry. It’s now all about no rushing to do another, maybe dipping in and out of it while working on other things, or perhaps once I get going it will just flow out of my like the first; who knows?

The other thing, of course, is that I have started writing an outline for it, something which I didn’t do for the first or anything else that I’ve written. I don’t know if putting too much thought into it will be a problem, or whether for this one I need to think about it more. For TNS, I did some researching, for the likes of locations, and some smaller elements, but I didn’t do a great deal of planning; and it turned out pretty well. For now, I’ll try to finish the outline and see how I feel about it.

That’s it for now, I’ve got a games post ready for Wednesday that will be scheduled and online at around 11am (GMT).

Have a good week!

Friday Catch-Up

So today is just an end-of-the-week catch-up.

Today, to celebrate The Next Stage getting over 50 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews – 61 at the time of writing this post – the Kindle version is free over on Amazon. But, if you’d like a Google or Apple Books version, I have so promo codes to giveaway so just let me know.

I still can’t believe how The Next Stage has been received, and I’m exceptionally grateful the those that have reviewed it and especially those that have taken the time to do a text review. Reading how you enjoyed something I’ve written just makes it all worthwhile and like I’m actually good at what I’m trying to make my living doing.

In other news, I’ve decided to set myself a schedule for these blogs, so I have a vague idea of what content to post. It’s going to look something like this;

Monday: Writing update, where I’m up to with projects, and how I write, what I think about writing etc

Wednesday: Gaming, I’ll be doing reviews or retrospectives on gaming throughout my life.

Friday: Mental Health, these will be posts about how I live with bipolar, thoughts on how to deal with different situations, and general chat about it to get things out there.

I may deviate from this on occasion depending on what happens in my life, but I’ll be trying to stick to it where I can.

I’ve also decided to start Twitching again – game streaming, not the tick I get when someone mentions Twilight. My Twitch link is on the main page, but I’ll also be posting when I stream over on Twitter, it’ll probably be a weekend day, so if you want to join me, you’re more than welcome. I did a test run yesterday with Cyberpunk 2077, I’ll be playing through that, but I’m also going to be doing a try of all the months new PSNow additions – a blog about the one we’ve been playing recently will be coming on Wednesday.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been working on my ghost story, and I’m almost at 50,000 words, so it’s coming along. I’m hoping that I’ll have the story finished before Christmas and then I can polish it in the new year and hopefully release it soon after.

That’s it for today, so have a good weekend, and I’ll be back with more updates on Monday.

Distribution Woes

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asked by multiple people where else The Next Stage is available from as they don’t use Amazon.

I’ve spent some time looking into this and have found a few more places I’m going to make it available.

First off, it’s now on Lulu as an ePUB format. I’ve been through the process, and it all seems straight forward, quick simple and you can then put the downloaded file on your eReaders, whatever they may be.

As well as making The Next Stage available, I’ve also put Creatures up on the platform too so if you want a non-kindle version of that, you’re in luck!

I’m working on a few other distribution channels that I’ll update you on when they have been approved, but until then it’s just on Lulu and Amazon.

 In other writing-related news, I’m now just over 30,000 words into It’s All in the Eyes. As far as the story goes, it’s coming along nicely, if a little different from what I first envisioned. This is only the first draft, and usually, in my first draft, I just try to get to the story down into a relatively coherent manner. I leave fine-tuning for another draft along with editing and tweaking characters.

I still have no idea when this will release, but with the way it’s going, I’m hoping it won’t be as much of a gap as with The Next Stage and Creatures.

Below are the links for the Lulu publications;

The Next Stage

Creatures

I’ll update links on other pages in due course.

If you do buy a copy of either, please leave a review – good or bad- I appreciate all the feedback.

The Next Stage on Goodreads

Creatures on Goodreads

Skyrim, Ho!

Yesterday was a bad day for hip pain. So, not feeling like I could concentrate on writing, we played Skyrim.

Skyrim is probably up there with Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Last of Us, and Mass Effect, for the games that I’ve played the most.

Yes, it’s buggy as hell. Yes, all the characters have 1 of 4 voices. Yes, it’s almost ten years old. But it’s a game that I can always go back to.

But now playing it through alongside Alex I’m learning that I’ve still missed a pile of things. How, after spending what probably amounts to months of playtime, have I missed so much?

My go-to fighting style is as a mage. What? I enjoy setting people on fire, okay. So, I’ve never really done all that much with the blacksmithing and by the looks of things I’ve missed out on some truly badass armour and weapons.

With our current playthroughs, we’re going for the platinum, because why not? So, we’re spending time wandering and getting everything we can. There are so many locations and quests that I’ve missed. I feel like I’ve never truly played the game and I’m playing it for the first time.

In my game, I somehow killed Lydia, Uthgerd the Unbroken kept being set on fire so we gave up reloading and trying to keep her alive and my follower is now the Jenassa. She seems to be faring a little better, so I’m hoping that she’ll stick around for a while. I don’t know if something has changed, but I don’t remember the followers being so easy to kill before, or maybe I just didn’t set them on fire as much…who knows.

The other thing we’ve seen in this playthrough is an increase in things that try to kill you. I mean, we’ve both had groups of three bears attack us, way more sabre cats, and we’ve even had 2 dragons attack at once, I mean what the f*ck?

Hopefully someday soon we’ll also be able to playthrough the VR version without the motion sickness setting in. It’s a game that screamed out for VR and it looks amazing and definitely like you’re actually there. Maybe if we do it in small stints we’ll be okay. But for now, we’ll keep working on the normal version.

Anyway, I’m back working on It’s All in the Eyes today. Current word count is 24525, and I’m on chapter 11. I still have no idea where it’s going until I write it, this method seems to be working for me, so I’m going to stick at it.

More updates on Friday. Maybe I’ll have killed Jenassa by then, perhaps she’ll survive. Who knows? It’s the mystery of Skyrim.

Welcome to Another Week

I’ll start the week with some good news that made me happy this morning.

I woke up to my first review for The Next Stage on Goodreads, and what made it even better was that it was a 5-star review. It means so much that even just one person has read and enjoyed what I’ve written and to get that rating is just…wow.

Since then I’ve had another 2 reviews, both 5-stars. So at the moment, it stands at the highest average it can get.

I am honestly beyond chuffed with these reactions to a book I put so much into.

Today, I’m continuing to work on It’s All in the Eyes. So far I’m at a total of just over 20,000 words and the story is really coming along.

While I write, I do bits and pieces of research on various things when the plot requires it. I can’t do any before because I just write and see where my brain takes it, and so far it’s taking it to some interesting places.

I have no idea when this book will be finished and out, but as I’m getting more confident in what I’m doing I feel like it won’t take as long as The Next Stage.

I’ll continue my updates and maybe even give out a few teasers when I feel like I’m ready to.

In the meantime grab a copy of The Next Stage and let me know what you think.